CHAPS of a certain age will remember a willowy, Campari-drinking Lorraine Chase being asked by a smooth-talking barfly in a TV advert if she'd flown in from paradise … and she replies in a guileless, broad Cockney accent: “No – Luton Airport!” Hardly paradise, granted, and I've had some tiring, tortuous and downright trying trips to Luton when dashing to catch a plane to one place or another, or meet a homecoming daughter. But for a change, I headed down the M1 for a social 'do' in the Vauxhall cars capital, in no tearing hurry and with no check-in deadline ticking away as we crawled through inevitable roadworks. For old times' sake, I decided to head for the airport … and check in at a handy hotel where I could get ready for the party and then lay my head later, before the long drive home to the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire the day after. So where to stay? No four-star frills needed for just an overnight stay, so it was an internet trawl to find a couple of budget bedrooms, which paid off with a painless online booking at the airport's newly-refurbished Premier Inn – and a stay which would have done credit to a place charging twice the price. The booking confirmation was emailed within moments and included a detailed breakdown of everything we might need to know, including a map – plus Sat-Nav co-ordinates for the techies – along with info on how to get breakfast and any other meals at the neighbouring Beefeater pub/bar/restaurant and the no-nonsense pledge: 'a good night guaranteed or your money back'. This Premier Inn http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/LUTBRA/luton-airport offers a speedy check-in to cater for guests in an airport-style hurry, and although we were not in any particular rush, we were registered in no time flat by a smiling Phoebe and Rachel and directed to our second-floor rooms with pretty well all the mod cons a traveller could need, and a cheerful reminder to ask for anything else we might want. First priority was a freshen-up in a brand-new bathroom, a few minutes' chill time watching the news on a huge, flat-screen TV, then a short walk to the Beefeater – The Brache – and a refreshing beer in the afternoon sunshine, before returning to get changed for the evening's festivities. Mrs G appreciated the dressing room-style mirror as well as the full-length one on the wall while I relaxed with a Costa coffee, waiting for a taxi ordered by the helpful girls on reception. Later (much later!) after an excellent gathering hosted by our firefighter godson, it was back for that guaranteed good night's sleep, helped by double double-glazing, which effectively blocked out any suggestion of airport noise, a controllable heating/air-conditioning set-up, and a huge bed which was indeed very comfy. Up with the lark on a beautiful day to watch the start of the London Marathon on TV and no need to ask for our 'good night guarantee' money back – a total of £72 for two double rooms – as we all slept very well, thanks. Breakfast across at the Beefeater could be booked online or at check-in, with kids eating free if you were tucking in to the 'as much as you like' menus from the comprehensive full cooked or Continental options, and there was even a grab-and-go brekkie if you were on the minutes. And an added bonus … there was no sign of Lenny Henry.